Fandom: Original work.
Chararcters: Sillan Denevda/Tamin Sorid, Ogar, Manous Gestracht
Medium: Prose fiction
Word Count: 1,744
Rating: PG 13
Warnings: Slavery, threats,
Summary/Preview: Sillan Denevda is enslaved for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, is transported to a foreign city, finds out more is going on and has her name changed.
The twillg aren’t bad or evil, just culturally conditioned to assume that if anyone sells them something then they do so because they’re entitled to. Even if it’s people. If it’s people they assume the people being sold got their cut of the transaction chain somewhere before they came into the twillg’s hands. The twillg are in fact a very moral race, my father once proved to one that it had been tricked into dealing in stolen goods and found himself convincing the twillg not to unsully its name by killing the supplier and then itself.
The right time to convince the twillg that I had been stolen from myself would have been when I was brought on board their ship. Unfortunately I’d been unconscious at the time.
I’d tracked my friend Milla’s errant brother to the oldest established permanent floating crap game in Scalery. Milla was worried about him but there were worse places he could have been, most nights. As it happened he left just before Plego’s men raided the place and I met them head-on as I headed out the door after him. One of them coshed me and that was how I wound up unconscious then sold to a twillg trader, unable to talk my way out of the deal. By the time I woke up we were a day out at sea, bound for Canderamole, and I had no contact with the trader just his staff.
Apparently I’d missed Plego’s little speech about how our inconvenience was due to the crap game host not paying his debts. Needless to say, I wasn’t appreciative of his thought processes. I was, however, a good little slave. I figured that good behaviour was more likely to give me the wriggle room to get a message home to my family so someone could come and buy me free. In the meantime it meant that I wasn’t restrained so I couldn’t damage the merchandise; myself or one of my fellow captives. The cuffs used for that may have been heavily padded but they were still ankle and wrist cuffs.
Once we got into Canderamole the lower caste twillg, the ones with the small mandibles and the dull coloured bodies and carapaces, made sure we were clean and tidy then brought us up to the deck to go on display in cages. I still didn’t see the merchant in charge but there were a fair number of viewers come to see us. They were a mix of humans, scaled xorg and sea dwelling meamar. Clean and prosperous looking, all of them. It seemed our merchant had a good reputation. It also seemed reasonable to assume that this was part of the lead up to an auction.
Indeed it might have been, but I was bought straight off the display floor. The entire transaction was handled by one of the lower caste twillg who was wearing bookkeeper’s beads. I was brought out of my cage, my hands were cuffed behind my back and both my keys and I were handed over to a man who was built like a brick outhouse and overtopped me by a good two heads worth.
His voice, when he spoke to me, was a bass or very close to it. “Now, little girl, I’m going to take you back to the boss. If you behave and walk along nicely, then there won’t be any problems. If you give me any grief, then I toss you over my shoulder and later on I make you very sorry for being naughty. Understand me?”
I was nineteen almost a year ago, but given the difference in our heights I let “little girl” pass uncontested. “Yes sir. Without knowing the details of what you might do, sir.”
He smiled. “If you behave then you won’t find out, will you?”
“No sir. I hope not to sir.” So I followed him obediently, like a good slave. I was in a strange city, without money, no back up and no friends. At this point I could only have run blindly away without anywhere to go and no way of getting those cuffs off. That didn’t seem like my best option, really.
My first impressions of Canderamole were, necessarily, confused. The docks were all bright light and bustle, most of the bustle seeming to be to get ships loaded so they could go out with the tide. My owner, or my owner’s agent I wasn’t sure, led me out of the docks and along one of the access roads that fed them from the land side. The buildings were different to the ones back home, more arches and fewer square doorways was what I noticed most, and the colour schemes were different. The sunlight stayed bright, even away from the water’s reflections. It was a relief to my eyes when we turned into a shadowed alley and then, a few moments later, entered a warehouse.
We passed through the warehouse, with its exotically fragrant contents, and stepped outside again into a private courtyard. A servant, a big and bulky male servant, let us into the house and we continued, turning to the left in the foyer with the staircase to the second floor. We followed the corridor as far as it went, around a left turning corner and far enough back that the room behind the door in the middle of the corridor must have shared a wall with the warehouse. The big man knocked on the door and from inside the room another man’s voice ordered us to enter. My escort opened the door and told me, “In you go.”
I obeyed and if I hadn’t known the human lump of brick was behind me I might have broken and run. Behind the desk, perfectly at home and looking as if he owned the place, which he did, was Manous Gestracht. Ostensibly a business man but with as many illegal operations as legal ones, he and my father had been duelling each other with their wits for years. I was in the hands of one of my father’s greatest enemies.
“Greetings, Miss Denevda, and welcome to my employ.” He was smiling at me in a fatherly fashion. “Ogar, please undo the restraints and put Miss Denevda on her seat.”
My escort, who hadn’t bothered to introduce himself, produced the key and undid my handcuffs, then put both in his coat pocket.
“Thank you.” I remembered my manners. Then he placed me firmly into the padded visitor’s chair opposite Manous Gestracht before taking up a parade rest position maybe three feet behind me.
Gestracht spoke to me next. “Before we go any further, Miss Denevda, you should read this.” With that he handed me a folded up broadsheet. I recognised the half of the masthead I could see and the colour of the paper it was printed on. The Scalery Gazette was delivered to our house every morning. “This edition arrived here two days ago by clipper. It would have passed your transport sometime on your night out of port.” I knew a clipper would be faster than the twillg’s transport and with a fair wind the time was certainly feasible.
I opened the broadsheet out and read the front. The rest of the Council had moved against my maternal grandmother. She and my aunts, my mother’s eldest two sisters, had been arrested, summarily tried and then executed for treason. Our house had been raided in the early hours of the morning. Amantha, Berind and Kale, three of my siblings, were dead. My paternal grandfather, my father and my brother Sendake had all been convicted of interfering with officers in the pursuit of their duties and condemned to hang. Mother and the rest of my sibs, Torrance, Ganya and Fane, had been found guilty of witchcraft and condemned to death by pressing. No dates of execution had been set yet. There was a small note at the end of the article that the remaining daughter of the family, Sillan, that was me, had not been accounted for as yet. I checked the date on the paper and realised that but for Plego’s men I would have walked into this when I’d gone home.
No-one could came and rescue me from the fix I was in and I couldn’t help them from where I was.
Gestracht cut into my thoughts. “My condolences on your losses, Miss Denevda, but you belong to me now and I urge you not to try anything foolish. I’m sure that one of the few things your parents have to gladden their hearts with at the moment is that the authorities in Scalery have no idea where you are.”
“But you knew I was coming.” Why else would he have sent his man to the twillg’s boat?
Gestracht laid his finger along the side of his nose. “I’ll not burden you with what I knew and when, Miss Denevda.” Both hands were on the desk again folded in front of him. “Sufficient for now is that you belong to me and I will put you to work doing what you have been doing in Scalery on an amateur basis. You have quite a talent for finding people and things, my dear.” We both knew he wasn’t referring to inanimate objects. “I can supply you with muscle when you need it and a safe base of operations where you don’t have to lie about what you’re doing. I’ll give you your clients and if you behave, then I can be your avuncular manager/agent.” He smiled then added, “If you don’t behave then I’ll collar you and Ogar can take you around on a leash. If you won’t work, then I’ll have to get back my investment another way, renting out your womb comes to mind. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir. I believe I do.” I was completely within this man’s power and I didn’t think that was a good thing.
“Excellent.” He smiled again. “Now, in case the Scalery Council is looking for you a little more actively than they’re letting on, we need to change your name and appearance.” He caught my look. “Purely to protect my investment, of course.” He looked me up and down. “I think, Ogar, that she looks like a Tamin, don’t you?”
“Yes sir.” Ogar’s bass rumbled behind me. “Tamin would suit her well.”
“Tamin Sorid, then.” Gestracht stretched out his hand for mine. “Welcome to my household, Miss Sorid.”